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Portable Power – When you need it, Where you need it –

Power everywhere. Much more than just a battery and it is built in Canada. Complete customization, Portability, power, and convenience come together in this versatile power station. Optional 1000W pure sine wave inverter and MPPT/DC2DC charge controller make the Power N Go unmatched. Our smart Bluetooth BMS lets you know what’s going on at all times which comes standard with all units. LiFePO4 is some of the longest-lasting and safest lithium chemistries.

Features

The power station has a long list of features including an optional built-in 1000W (2000W peak) pure sine wave inverter to power all your AC devices on the go. Another option is the all-in-one 300W MPPT charge controller and 30A DC2DC converter and isolator. To plugin there is 1x SMH175 & 4x SMH50 Anderson connectors, 2x 12V automotive ports, 2x 2.1A USB. A hard cut-off switch and battery state indicator are built-in for quick disconnection and convenience.

Capacity

Using four of our high capacity 3.2V 310Ah prismatic cells translates into more reliability; fewer parts, fewer issues. Our cells are designed to use the full depth of discharge giving maximum capacity when required. You always have the option (through Bluetooth) to change the charging and discharging parameters to a 20%-90% cycle to extend the lifetime of the battery. Compared to lead-acid, lithium offers more than 2x more power per rated Ah as well as consistent voltage.

Cycle Life

If you use a full cycle daily, it will be 8-13.5 years until you realize a 20% capacity loss. This means with the 310Ah, after 3000 – 5000 cycles you would still have up to 248Ah of usable power. The battery can easily have a useful life of more than 10,000 cycles/25 years in most applications. This is the only battery you will need, which is why we include our 10-year warranty but do expect it to run much longer.

Smart BMS

Lithium batteries require a battery management system (BMS) to ensure proper voltage and temperature cut-offs. Separating our batteries with our smart Bluetooth BMS, you can set parameters of charging and discharging, monitor real-time usage, see available power left, and turn on and off all from your phone. At any time, you will know how much power you’re discharging or charging and how much you have left. The BMS has automatic high/low temp and voltage cut-offs to maximize your battery life. We use quality JBD BMS for our Power N Go power stations.

Temperature

LiFePO4 chemistry cannot be charged at 0 °C or discharged at -20 °C which is why our BMS disable these functions when low temperatures are detected. Depending on your battery location and climate, you may require your battery to work in colder weather. Our batteries can come with built-in automatic heating. The optional heater can keep the battery temperature above 0 °C to allow all functions to work in any weather. The heater uses very little power to keep everything warm.

Amp Rates

Our smart BMS is rated to output 150A continuous with a 300a peak (3 seconds) and charging up to 150A continuously. By paralleling units, you can multiply amperage rates by number of paralleled batteries. Please gauge your wiring accordingly to account for your expected loads.

Safety

The most important thing to all our batteries is safety. LiFePO4 is one of the safest lithium chemistries and will not catch on fire like other li-ion batteries. There is no venting or required maintenance with these batteries. Storage losses are under 3% per month so you can leave the battery dormant for long periods without issues.

Parallel/Series

Our Power N Go is capable of up to 4 series and 4 paralleled batteries. With series connections, the inverter or MPPT/DC2DC cannot be built in. If you require a specific voltage and Ah, please see our King-Pawn battery system for a single BMS option for multiple batteries. We also offer a more basic 4kWh option with terminals called the Tiny 12V. If you require more capacity, voltage, or anything else please contact us directly as we can do anything!

Documents

Power_N_Go

Power N Go Spec Sheet
Power N Go Brochure

Vanadium Redox Flow Battery “VRFB” 101

Vanadium Infographic 1

 

The Vanadium Redox Flow Battery

The VRFB is a type of rechargeable flow battery where rechargeability is provided by vanadium electrolyte (VE) dissolved in solution. The two tanks of Vanadium, one side containing V2+ and V3+ ions, the other side containing V4+ and V5+ ions, are separated by a thin proton exchange membrane.  VRFBs consists of two tanks of vanadium electrolyte that flow adjacent to each other past a membrane and generate a charge by moving electrons back and forth during charging and discharging. This battery offers unlimited energy capacity simply by using larger electrolyte storage tanks. It can be left completely charged for long periods without losing capacity and maintenance is much simpler than other batteries. Pumps on both sides circulate the electrolyte.

The electron differential between the two cells generates electric power. Most batteries use two chemicals that change valence (or charge or redox state) and cross-contaminate and thus degrade over time. VRFBs utilize multiple valence states of vanadium as a single element to store and release charge. The VRFB has no cross-contamination like most batteries. The electrolyte in the catholyte and the anolyte consists of 100% vanadium ions. The ion-sensitive membrane separating both sides of the electrolyte tank allows only protons to pass. VRFBs are containerized, long duration, non-flammable, compact, reusable over infinite cycles, and last more than 20 years.

What are the advantages of Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries?

  • VRFBs have a lifespan of 20+ years
  • VRFBs offer immediate energy release
  • VRFBs are suitable for grid connection or off-grid settings – ideal for renewable energy
  • VRFBs can discharge 100%, without any damage to the battery
  • VRFBs are non-flammable
  • They ensure power and energy can be scaled independently
  • Vanadium electrolyte can be re-used and does not need to be disposed of
  • The batteries can be cycled more than once per day
  • They use only one element in the electrolyte – V2O5
  • VRFB energy storage guarantees uninterrupted power supply

How does a Vanadium Redox Flow battery (VRFB) work?

  • A flow battery is charged and discharged by a reversible reduction-oxidation reaction between the two liquid vanadium electrolytes of the battery
  • Unlike conventional batteries, electrolytes are stored in separated storage tanks, not in the power cell of the battery
  • During operation, these electrolytes are pumped through a stack of power cells, in which an electrochemical reaction takes place and electricity is produced

 

Cool Your Home with Solar Panels!

Do Solar Panels Cool Your Home?

On these hot summer days, the sun shines directly on your roof and has a heating effect that permeates into your home. Is it true that solar panels can cool your home? Absolutely!

A study conducted by the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering completed tests with various solar panel layouts and tested roof temperatures with thermal imaging.

Thermal Imaging

Solar Installation in Vancouver. Roof Thermal Imaging & Cooling effect!

Researchers discovered that exterior roof temperatures were 5 degrees Fahrenheit cooler with solar panels, as the panels blocked direct sunlight from hitting the roof. Also, the solar panels contributed to lowering roof temperatures because the panels themselves were reflecting the sun’s heat away from the building. Overall, the solar panels “reduced the amount of heat reaching the roof by about 38%!”

 

In addition to cooling your home during the Summer, solar panels also add an insulation value in the Winter by helping to keep warm air inside your home. How great is that? These factors alone make your home more energy-efficient and are estimated to provide a 5% payback of the solar panel system cost!

To learn more, visit our page for more information.

Do you have more questions about solar panels? Contact us today as we’re happy to answer your questions and even provide you with a Free Estimate!

Can You Connect Solar Panels Directly 2 Battery

Can You Connect Solar Panels Directly To Battery?

 

A typical solar system has a charge controller situated between the solar panels and the battery. But is it that necessary? Can you connect solar panels directly to a battery? What would happen if you do?

A solar panel generates up to 20 volts, which is higher than the 12 volts required by a battery. Connecting the solar panels directly to the battery could overcharge and damage the battery.

What Happens If You Connect Solar Panels Directly To A Battery?

When sunlight hits the cells on a solar panel, it produces a chemical reaction and generates direct current (DC). The solar panel transmits this current into the battery. The current is used to charge the battery and can also be used to run appliances and other devices.

If the solar panel is directly connected to the battery, all of the currents are placed in the battery. A 12V battery needs only 12 volts, at most 14.4.V to charge. A 12V solar panel produces up to 20V.

If you put 20 volts in a 12-volt battery, it will overcharge. This is going to damage the battery and whatever device or appliance is connected to it.

By installing a charge controller like the Renogy 30A Charge Controller, this can be avoided. You place the charge controller between the solar panels and the battery, and it will regulate the current flowing into the system.

Why A Charge Controller Is Needed To Connect Batteries To Solar Panels

A charge controller manages the electrical current going into the battery, keeping it at a safe level. This device ensures the battery charges at the optimum level without the risk of overheating or overcharging. Some of the most important features of a charge controller are the following.

  • Display: the controller should display the solar panel amps, battery bank voltage, and charge level.
  • Customizable lighting control: for simplified operation
  • Auto low voltage connect / disconnect: turns on when the battery is charged and turns off when power is low
  • Multistate Charging: adjusts the battery power according to the battery’s charge level for optimum performance.

The battery installation depends on the solar panel system design. A lot of home solar panel systems today come with an inverter that simplifies battery configuration. If your system does not come with battery expansion capability, you have to replace the inverter.

Lead-acid batteries are the most widely and with good reason. Their electrical storage capacity is large and they discharge fast. However, lead-acid battery levels should not drop below 50% as it will shorten the lifespan.

Lead-acid batteries often have 2 V voltage and are made up of cells that generate the required power. In solar power batteries, that is 12 volts. These are called deep cycle batteries because they charge during the day and are discharged at night.

Sot the best way to avoid this is to install a charge controller. The controller will protect the battery and ensure only the right amount of current goes into the system. The following step-by-step guide shows you how it is done.

How To Connect A Charge Controller To A Battery And Solar Panel

Instead of connecting a battery directly to a solar panel, you should install a charge controller between the battery and the solar panel. The solar panel will charge the battery with current but the controller ensures only a safe amount goes into it. The following steps show how it is done.

Required Tools And Materials

  • Solar panel
  • Charge controller
  • Battery charge
  • Inverter (if you will use AC powered appliances)
  • Cable, wires, and connectors (these should be included in your solar panel kit)
  • Crescent wrench
  • Drill
  • Screwdriver
  • Electrical tape
  • Wirecutter
  • Eye protection (goggles are recommended when working with lead-acid batteries)
  • 12V deep cycle battery – we recommend 4.0 kWh Royer Lithium Battery 310 AH (LiFePo4)

The basic steps are:

  1. Connect the charge controller to the lead battery.
  2. Link the lead battery into the inverter.
  3. Connect the charge controller to the solar panels.
  4. To run, use the inverter to convert DC to AC, Clamp to the battery and turn the inverter on.

Step By Step Instructions

1. Prepare all the tools and materials. Set up the solar panel so you can link them to the main connector later on. Layout the panels first. Depending on your setup, an extension cord may or may not be required.

The wires should be covered for protection. If the battery is not yet charged, do this first. It’s a good idea to charge the battery while you set up the solar panels to save time. Make certain the battery’s negative terminal is on one side and the positive terminal on the other.

If your battery is already parallel, proceed to step 3. If not, cut the cables and make some jumpers. The bigger the inverter, the longer the cable, but chances are your solar panel already has cables ready.

2. Hook up the charge controller onto the lead battery. There should be a wire on the controller that you can hook up or clamp onto the battery. The inverter must be turned off first. If the controller is waterproof you can position it anywhere. If it isn’t, make sure it is in a secure location.

Charge controllers come with digital displays for easy access to your system, so the best place to install them is in your RV. When installed properly, you can use the controller to monitor the energy situation in your RV.

3. Hook up the lead battery to the solar inverter. The battery can be configured parallel to the other batteries in the system. To add more batteries, connect them with cables. Make sure the cables are linked to the proper terminals.

4. Link the battery controller to the solar panel. Run the line from the panel to the controller and it should be set. Depending on your setup, an extension cord may be required to connect the components.

Tips And Warnings

To test the system, turn on the inverter to convert DC to AC. Clamp to the battery and then activate the inverter. If everything is in order the system should run fine. Try different devices and check for signs of problems. Here are some more suggestions:

  • If you already bought a solar kit, follow the instructions given. Keep in mind that some of the steps in your solar panel kit may differ slightly. If you don’t want to manually put the whole thing together, look for solar panel system kits that require very little setup.
  • Double-check the wiring and cables. Make certain the connectors are tight and in the proper locations.
  • Run a test first to see if it works. Keep an eye on the charge controller and check if it’s controlling the voltage.
  • If the system does not run, check the wiring or if there is a loose screw somewhere. It is also possible the batteries are not installed correctly so look there first.
  • Your solar system kit comes with a manual and troubleshooting guide so use that as a reference.

How Long Does A Solar Panel Take To Charge A 12V Battery?

The charging time depends on the solar panel watt capacity and how much sunlight is available. It also depends on the battery and how much power is required.

A 12V 100ah battery holds up to 1200 watts. A 100-watt solar panel can produce 600 watts with six hours of sunlight. So if the weather is ideal, a 100W solar panel can recharge a 12V 100ah battery in two days.

That assumes the two days have full sunlight so the solar panel can produce 100 watts for six hours. In reality, this can only happen under the most ideal situations. Passing clouds, shading, and other factors affect solar power output. if the conditions are not good, it might take 3 days or so to recharge the battery.

What Are The Parts Of A Solar Power System?

Now, let’s take a look at the 4 main components: the solar panels, the charge controller, the inverter, and the battery. The following information makes it clear why you should never connect the batteries directly to a solar panel unless it runs off DC power.

Solar Panel. These are the most recognizable parts of a solar system. Also called solar stations or solar cells, these are available in different configurations. The most popular solar panels are those with 36 cells, capable of producing 18 to 21 volts.

Inverter. Solar panels produce direct current (DC) which is then stored in the battery. To use this power for home appliances, you need an inverter to convert it into an alternating current (AC). The inverter must be joined to the battery before it is connected to other AC appliances or devices.

Your solar battery generates 12-volt power, but the inverter changes this into 120 volts, making it usable and compatible with electrical devices. Inverters come in various forms and some are bundled with portable solar system kits.

Battery. The battery serves as the repository of all the energy that the solar panel produces. For RVs and home use, a 12V, deep cycle battery is recommended. These batteries can handle several discharges, which is what you’ll be needing. Without the battery, there is nowhere to store all the power the solar panel generates.

Solar Charge Controller. A battery charge controller acts as a voltage regulator for your solar power system. Think of the voltage regulator that you use with your computer and you get an idea of what a batter charge controller does.

Conclusion

Connecting solar panels to the battery is a simple, straightforward process, provided you know the steps. A lot of the mistakes people make is not taking the time to learn how a solar panel system works with batteries. By understanding the process you’ll save yourself a lot of trouble.

Advantages of Deep-Cycle Lithium Batteries for Utility Vehicles

If you frequently use utility vehicles such as pick-up trucks or golf carts, you need a sustainable source of battery power to help keep them moving and operational. That’s where the importance of lithium batteries can most benefit you. At Hub Power, we provide deep-cycle lithium batteries in BC and are a prime distributor of solar and power conversion products. 

We also specialize in solar on-grid packages in BC and will detail the benefits of deep cycle lithium batteries for your utility vehicle. We’ll go over what exactly these batteries are and how they work, as well as their duration of the operation. What's the Difference Between Off-Roader and Overlander?

 

What Are Deep Cycle Batteries and How Do They Function?

Deep cycle batteries are premium, lightweight, and very efficient batteries that offer the most powerful options for different required usages as they’re designed to produce a steady power output over a long period of time. After the discharge has been used significantly, it’s recharged to complete the cycle. Some of the features include rapid charging, deeper charging cycles, continuous charge, and discharge capability. 

How these deep cycle batteries work is through the use of lithium iron phosphate that offers improved discharge and charges efficiency. This helps with the battery’s ability for deep power cycles. While deep cycle batteries are often priced with a large price tag, they can deliver great value and benefits for your utility vehicles over time. Moreover, these types of batteries have a longer service life compared to other lead-acid or lower quality lithium batteries and require little or no maintenance. It’s overall a worthwhile investment for people managing different vehicles and a great long-term solution.

 

What Is The Lifespan Of A Deep Cycle Battery?

So how long do deep cycle batteries last? As we mentioned before, they can power your utility vehicle for a long time. Depending on how you use it and how powerful the battery is, the life cycle can last you several charging cycles. You also have to consider temperatures and other factors before you use the battery. 

Deep cycle batteries currently average around 2,000-4,000 charging cycles at 80% of rated capacity. This is better in comparison to the 400-1,500 cycles you would get from lead-acid batteries. By a rough estimate, deep cycle lithium batteries can last you five years or more of functional operation in contrast to just two years from lead-acid batteries. They also need to be maintained and may require water replacement to avoid serious structural damage in the future. Otherwise, you may risk shortening their lifespan. 

 

What Is The Difference Between A Lithium Battery And A Deep Cycle Battery?

Standard lithium batteries and deep cycle batteries have many similarities and differences and both have their strengths and weaknesses. We’ve gone over a few of them already, but it’s worth repeating if you want to base your decision on the details. 

Deep cycle batteries weigh 30% less than lithium acid batteries and can reach 100% charge and discharge with around 80% of great efficiency. They also have longer charging cycles than lithium batteries and offer strong stability in terms of voltage power. 

While lithium batteries are cheaper than deep cycle batteries, investing in the latter can greatly benefit you in the long run. Moreover, lithium batteries and other similar products have dangerous lead content that can be dangerous for yourself and the environment. Deep cycle batteries use sustainable lithium technology that is cleaner and safer for the environment than other products. 

All in all, you will find many uses and benefits if you consider purchasing deep-cycle lithium batteries for your utility vehicles. While it may be an investment, you can be assured that you’ll get great results from your purchase. 

 

 

 

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Solar panels: a ray of hope as UK energy prices go through the roof

Demand is growing as more of us work from home. But does the £5,000 outlay for installation pay off?

Cleaning up … but the slope of the roof alone can have a big impact on savings
Clean energy … but the slope of the roof alone can have a big impact on savings. Photograph: Simon Dack/Alamy

With energy bills on their way up again from April, homeowners are looking skywards to try and ease the pressure on their budgets – by installing solar panels.

The latest change to the regulator’s cap on default tariffs means, from spring, that the average annual dual-fuel bill will go up to £1,971, an increase of 54% on current levels.

And with homeowners increasingly working from home, and therefore using more energy during the day, many are looking at installing panels to cut costs, and even earn from the energy they generate.

Thomas Newby, chief executive of Leeds-based renewable energy company egg, says they received the same number of inquiries in the first nine days of this month as they did in the whole of November.

“Many consumers are still on fixed deals but which will likely come to an end shortly, so I expect we may see a further increase in demand in the coming year,” he says.

What it costs

Solar panels convert energy from the sun into electricity. Stronger sunlight creates more electricity, which can then either be used in your home or exported to the national grid.

But installing them comes at a cost. The average bill reaches almost £5,000 and rising labor bills and shortages of photovoltaic panels mean prices are going up.

Domestic systems are generally made up of between 10 and 15 panels, each of which generates between 200W and 350W of energy, according to the Energy Saving Trust, a charity promoting energy efficiency. The more panels on the roof, the higher the installation cost but also the potential for more energy.

The average price for an installation of a 3.5kW system is £4,800, including labor. This tends to be about 12 panels.

“This is the average size for domestic systems in the UK,” says Brian Horne, senior insight and analytics consultant at the Energy Saving Trust. “The amount you pay for installation will be influenced by the size of the system, and will also be affected by any difficulty with access to your roof.”

This price does not include the cost of a battery, which allows solar energy to be stored for use at a later time. They range between £1,200 and £6,000, according to GreenMatch, which compares green energy products.

Although prices for solar systems have come down over the last decade, the increased cost of labor as well as the shortage in panels from China recently, has sent costs on the way back up, says Newby. “That’s as a result of some increase in material prices but, more generally, it is labor. That’s a big part of the job.”

Planning and permissions

The ideal roof for solar panels is south-facing. East- or west-facing roofs yield up to 20% less energy; north-facing ones are the least productive and deemed to be impractical in the UK.

For a 3.5kW system, you need room for 15 to 20 sq meters of panels. The best results will be achieved from a roof angled at 30 degrees. Most UK roofs are between 30 and 45 degrees, according to consumer group Which?.

Solar panels are classed as permitted developments so in most cases will not require planning permission. However, if you live in a listed building or a conservation area, there may be restrictions. It is best to contact your local council to be absolutely clear.

When solar panels are to be installed, the company which brings electricity to your home – the Distribution Network Operator (DNO) – must be informed. The Energy Networks Association has an online tool that, by entering your postcode, will tell you which company operates in your area.

If a solar system is above a certain size, prior permission is needed from the DNO and can take up to three months to obtain, according to Newby. After the preparation for putting the system in place is complete, installing the panels can take one to two days.

Read More…

Different EV Charging Connector Types

Let’s start with AC. There are two types of AC plugs:

  • Type 1 is a single-phase plug and is standard for EVs from America and Asia. It allows you to charge your car at a speed of up to 7.4 kW, depending on the charging power of your car and grid capability. 
  • Type 2 plugs are triple-phase plugs because they have three additional wires to let current run through. So naturally, they can charge your car faster. At home, the highest charging power rate is 22 kW, while public charging stations can have a charging power up to 43 kW, again depending on the charging power of your car and grid capability.

Two types of plugs exist for DC charging:

  • CHAdeMO: This quick charging system was developed in Japan, and allows for very high charging capacities as well as bidirectional charging. Currently, Asian car manufacturers are leading the way in offering electric cars that are compatible with a CHAdeMO plug. It allows charging up to 100 kW.
  • CCS: The CCS plug is an enhanced version of the Type 2 plug, with two additional power contacts for the purposes of quick charging. It supports AC and DC charging. It allows charging at a speed of up to 350 kW. 

Now, what do you do if you live in Europe and drive an Asian car like the Nissan LEAF? Well, you need a cable that connects the type 2 plug of the charging station with the type 1 outlet of your vehicle (type 2 to type 1). The maximum speed will be up to 7.4 kW.

To summarize:

Four types of plug exist, two for AC (type 1 and 2) and two for DC (CHAdeMo and CCS).
Type 1 is common for American vehicles, it’s a single-phase plug and can charge at a speed of up to 7.4 kW.
Type 2 is standard for European and Asian vehicles from 2018 onwards, it’s a triple-phase plug and can charge at a level of up to 43 kW.
CCS is a version of type 2 with two additional power contacts. It allows very fast charging.
CHAdeMO can be found in Asian cars and allows for high charging capacities as well as bidirectional charging.

String Inverters, Microinverters & Power Optimizers, What’s the difference?

Inverters are a key component of any solar panel system: while solar panels convert sunlight into electricity, inverters ensure that you can use the electricity they produce in your Home, RV, Boat, or cabin.

There are three primary inverter setups: string invertersinverters + power optimizers, and microinverters. String inverters are the oldest, original technology: they are a proven, durable, and cost-effective option that has been installed for decades throughout the world. That said, microinverters and power optimizers are newer (but not new!) technologies and have been increasing in popularity over the last decade, especially in the residential market. In this article, we focus specifically on the capabilities of microinverters and compare that to the capabilities of adding power optimizers to a string inverter.

A note about power optimizers


Microinverters and power optimizers are comparable technologies – so comparable that some companies describe them as interchangeable (Never to do!) Both are collectively referred to as “Module-Level Power Electronics,” or MLPEs, but there are important differences between these setups that may make them more or less suitable for your installation.

Microinverters vs. power optimizers: compare and contrast

Microinverters and power optimizers are comparable technologies – so comparable that some companies describe them as interchangeable (but we would never!) Both are collectively referred to as “Module-Level Power Electronics,” or MLPEs, but there are important differences between these setups that may make them more or less suitable for your installation.

MicroInverters VS Optimizers

Similarities between microinverters and power optimizers

Let’s start off with the similarities between microinverters and power optimizers:

  • Microinverters and power optimizers help improve performance for solar panels on complicated roofs, or roofs that experience marginal shading during the day.
  • Both microinverters and power optimizers can monitor the performance of individual solar panels, meaning you can assess the number of kilowatt-hours (kWh) one solar panel in your array produces versus another.
  • Typically, solar companies install one MLPE (i.e. microinverter or power optimizer) on the back of each individual solar panel. So, if your system has 20 solar panels, that often means 20 microinverters or 20 power optimizers.

Top 4 differences between microinverters vs. power optimizers

While microinverters and power optimizers provide many of the same benefits, the two technologies also have many differences, as explored in greater detail below:

1. Where direct current (DC) converts to alternating current (AC)

Microinverters convert DC energy into AC energy right at the panel site. While power optimizers are also located behind a solar panel, they don’t convert the electricity on their own; instead, optimizers “condition” the DC energy and send it to a central inverter that finishes the conversion process. The conditioning process fixes the voltage of the DC energy so that the centralized inverter can more efficiently convert it to AC energy.

2. Warranty

Both microinverters and power optimizers come with 25-year warranties. However, while optimizers are warrantied for 25 years, the centralized inverter that they pair with may have a shorter warranty. Installers often offer an extended warranty on the central inverter, either as part of their package deal or at an additional price.

Additionally, it’s important to take a close look at what’s included–and what’s not–in a company’s warranty terms. Does the company cover installation labor, replacement and the shipping of parts? And what is the claim process like for getting a warranty processed? All of these are important considerations when choosing the type of inverter to install on your property.

3. Maintenance

Over the lifetime of microinverters and power optimizer systems, you need to consider if and how many times they’ll fail, as well as the impact of an unlikely failure on the production of your solar panel system. In the event that an individual inverter fails, it will likely cost more to replace a microinverter or a power optimizer located on a roof than it will replace a string inverter on a wall at ground level, given the labor required to access and work on your roof.

However, that’s only part of the calculus around lifetime maintenance costs. The leading microinverters are warrantied for 25 years, whereas many string inverters are only warrantied for 12 years, implying that you might have to replace your inverter mid-way through the lifetime of your solar panels.

4. Battery options

Both microinverters and power optimizers are compatible with battery storage. However, depending upon whether you want a DC or AC coupled battery solution, you may need to use a particular type of inverter. If you’re considering battery storage, it’s a good idea to talk to your installer or electrician about which inverters work best with your battery of choice.

 

Micro-Inverter-Optimizer-String

Microinverters vs. power optimizers: choosing the right option for your system

Microinverters and power optimizer systems have very similar efficiencies, are good for monitoring individual panel performance, and can help maximize energy production on slightly shaded or complicated roofs. But your preferences will ultimately determine which option is best for your home.

It’s important to keep in mind that microinverters and optimizers certainly aren’t the only options available – if you’re looking for the most economic option and have a south-facing roof with little shade, string inverters are the way to go.

String Inverters

String inverters are significantly larger than their aptly named counterpart.  String inverters are roughly 3′ tall x 1.5′ wide x 1′ deep or approximately the same size as a water cooler.  String inverters are typically mounted next to the electrical panel or can also be mounted outside.  The major downside to string inverters is that shading on one solar panel can negatively impact the entire array (or string within the array).

Key Advantages:

  • Most cost-effective inverter system
  • Scalability for large/commercial solar arrays

String inverters should be used when:

  • solar modules are mounted at the same pitch/azimuth
  • a large-scale project is desired
  • an unobstructed ground-mounted solar array is desired

Compare your inverter options to find the best match

As a consumer–and a shopper on EnergySage–you have the power to explore both your microinverter and power optimizer options. Start by reviewing the different manufacturers offering the two types of technologies, and then Contact Us – our team would be happy to provide you with no-obligation quotes that you can easily compare side-by-side to find the best solar panel system to fit your needs.

The Cost

String inverters are the most cost-effective but are only applicable in select circumstances.  Because of string inverters’ selectivity, microinverters and DC optimizer systems are gaining market share.

Both microinverters and DC optimizers are fairly comparable in cost.  If there is no room in your home or building for a string inverter, then micro may be more applicable.  Similarly, if you are planning a large installation, DC optimizers’ scalability may give them the edge.  Deciding a clear-cut winner between optimizers and micro inverts is a difficult task and one that can only be evaluated as the technology develops and inevitable corporate feuds ensue.

Additionally, the cost of various inverters’ may be impacted by CE Code rule changes and international trade issues (such as tariffs on one country or technology type).

Part of what we do at Power My Home is regularly evaluating what inverter systems are of the best quality and value for the given conditions. It is in everyone’s best interest to make sure you have the best product options at the lowest prices.

 

Reference Article I

WHAT ARE THE NECESSARY COMPONENTS OF A SOLAR MOBILE POWER SYSTEM?

Solar Truck camper

Mike’s Truck Camper – Photo from 2018

Solar power systems are an increasingly popular solution for both off the grid and on the grid power generation. They’re cost-effective and convenient, with solar panel kits widely available for any purpose.

With that being said, you should know that lots of different solar system components go into any system. With so many essential components, it can be helpful to understand why they’re necessary.

What Are the Main Components of Your Solar System?

Remember that you don’t just need to grab one of each of these solar system components and call it a day. You need to make sure they all work together properly. That also means finding dependable, quality brands that you can count on.

Solar Panels?

Of course, solar panels themselves are a big part of your solar electricity system. You can get panels today in a wide range of sizes, providing power in the range of 80 to 300 watts or more per panel.

The number of panels you’re going to need in Canada will vary widely depending on the size of your home and the specific region, due to how much the climate can vary. You could find yourself needing between 7,000 and 15,000 watts of capacity. How can you know how much you need? Find out with our solar panel calculator.

Make sure to go with systems designed for Canada, in particular, when setting up panels to power your home. Efficiency will rely on panel placement, which should always face south for maximum sun exposure. They should also be set up with a tilt of roughly 30 degrees. You can optimize this placement using your exact latitude.

You’ll also have to look into the options for polycrystalline or monocrystalline solar arrays. These are the two main types of panels. Monocrystalline is generally more efficient, although they can be more prone to damage.

Charge Controllers

You can’t simply plug your solar cells into a battery or the grid and hope for the best. You need a charge controller to manage electricity production.

Charge controllers prevent your batteries from taking in too much charge and becoming damaged. There are two different types: maximum power point tracking (MPPT) and pulse width modulation (PWM). Each device provides different levels of control.

The main difference to consider when choosing these solar system components is the voltage. PWM charge controllers require that panel and solar batteries match. MPPT charge controllers require the solar panel operating voltage to be about five volts higher than the battery charging voltage.

You should always check beforehand that your solar system components will work properly together.

Inverters

A primary problem when implementing a solar energy system is that solar panels put out DC power, whereas the electrical grid and your home’s electrical system run on AC power. That means you need to convert from DC to AC. To do that, you need inverters. Systems that aren’t grid-tied typically use a battery-based inverter to keep things simple.

Many solar energy systems will use string inverters. These are designed to run power that’s generated from multiple panels or a single inverter. This arrangement can be even more cost-effective with combiner boxes that connect multiple string inverters.

Running all of the panels in your solar power system can lead to efficiency issues because the weakest link will limit output. Microinverters provide a designated inverter for each panel, preventing this problem. The trade-off is that having more inverters costs more money than simply opting to go with string inverters.

Racks and Mounts

The mounting system that holds your solar panels is fundamental, especially in areas that get heavy snow. You need to make a deliberate choice that factors your region and individual needs.

The most common type of racking is roof-mounted. This keeps all of your solar system components safely out of harm’s way and should give your panels the most unobstructed sunshine possible.

You always want to make sure that a roof-mounted system is properly installed to prevent damage to your roof like leaks.

When roof mounting isn’t possible, some homeowners choose to go with ground mount for their solar electric systems. With this setup, racking is arranged at the appropriate angle to support the panels on the ground. This makes reaching them for cleaning and maintenance easy but can also leave them open to any potential hazards at ground level.

Finding an area without trees or other objects to obstruct ground-level sun exposure can also be hard and in some cases, impossible.

When neither of these options is possible (or for some specific applications), pole-mounted solar panels could be the way to go. These panels are installed on poles, which means that they’ll be high up and get excellent sun exposure but don’t require installation on your roof.

Every situation is unique, so it’s up to you to decide which type of mounting system is suitable for your home and region.

Solar Batteries

It wouldn’t do you much good to only have electricity when the sun is shining at its peak! That’s why batteries are integral solar system components. They give you storage capacity, which means that your solar power system can deliver electricity even after the sun goes down. They’re vital when you want to get the most out of your solar panels.

Your battery bank will be one of the most expensive components of your solar power system, so you need to make sure that you’re getting just what you need. There are two primary choices for solar system batteries: AGM and lithium.

AGM batteries use the same lead-acid chemistry that traditional car batteries do, but with a major upgrade. The absorbed glass mat that gives them their name prevents hydrogen gas release, a major problem for the safety and longevity of traditional lead-acid batteries.

These new batteries provide great storage capacity, safety, and reliability. They’re also relatively inexpensive.

Lithium batteries are also available for solar power systems (think electric vehicles). The main issue is that they’re much more expensive than AGM batteries and they don’t like cold weather.

With that being said, in every other category, they pull ahead. Lithium batteries can handle more charge cycles. They’re also safer and easier to maintain, and they last longer than AGM batteries.

Lithium batteries present a significant price trade-off, so both options are still worth considering.

A Backup Power Source for Your Solar Energy System

You should never rely on a solar energy system without having a backup power source available. When damaged or failed solar system components bring down your system, you don’t want to go without electricity until you can repair or replace them. Installing a backup power source ensures that you’ll always have reliable access to electricity.

For many homeowners, their backup power source is simply the existing electrical grid. Grid-tied systems are standard for installing solar energy systems anywhere other than the most remote locations. This arrangement is simple and convenient but isn’t always the right choice for everyone.

If you look at any kind of facility that can’t go without electricity for even a moment, they’ll have standby diesel generators. They’re incredibly reliable, relatively easy to store the fuel for, and less expensive than some other options. However, if your reason for going solar is environmental, you will likely shy away from the idea of a diesel generator.

Depending on your location, you might investigate wind turbines or even water wheels for backup power. However, these two are subject to many conditions. For real emergencies, even the most environmentally conscious families should have a portable gasoline generator to ensure they don’t go without the absolute necessities. (Please go ahead and share your comments and thoughts below)

System Maintenance:

Taking proper care of your solar power system is essential to the system’s longevity and efficiency.

Almost anywhere in Canada will get more than enough rainfall to keep panels clean. If you do notice them getting dusty during a particularly dry spell or otherwise covered in debris, you can simply spray your panels down with a household hose.

During the winter, you’ll have to keep them clear of snow for them to work. There are extendable tools designed for this task that make clearing snow a breeze. Whatever you do, never try to defrost panels with hot water. The temperature difference will crack the panels right away.

Learn more about Solar:

It’s easy to make sure that you get everything you need and that it’s all compatible and high-quality when you go with solar power components from Power My Home.

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What are the advantages of a 48V over a 12V system?

Solar systems are no longer a thing of the future─they are an effective and efficient way to provide your home, RV, boat, or off-grid cabin with the energy they need. And as we continue to develop solar technology, we are finding new and innovative ways to improve upon the past.

For example, up until recently, 12V or 24V systems were commonplace, with 12-volt systems being the most popular. But now technology is allowing the use of 48V systems, so let’s learn more about them. 

What is a 48V system?

Small setups like RVs or tiny homes can usually manage with a 12-volt or 24-volt system when it comes to power consumption. With these options, if you need more power, you can add more solar panels or another battery bank to increase your amp hours without too much hassle. 

 

However, with larger homes, the solution may not be so simple, which is where 48-volt systems come into play. The more amps you need, the more resistance (and heat) you’ll produce. To prevent blown fuses, tripped breakers, or even worse, a fire, you need a system that can handle the increased capacity without increasing the hazards. 

What are the advantages of a 48V over a 12V system?

  • Higher Efficiency

For both off-grid solar systems and those connected to the grid, 48V systems provide full power for high voltage appliances that require many watts to run. With a 48V system, the configuration allows for a more direct energy path, reducing consumption. All you’ll have to worry about is configuring the wiring between the charge controller, battery, and inverter. 

  • Safety

Because 48V systems run at higher efficiency while using fewer amps, they can operate appliances more safely than lower voltage systems. A 48V system will not have to increase its amperage regularly to provide the same power level as a 12V or 24V system.

  • Less Expensive Wiring and Batteries

48V systems don’t need to increase the current to appliances as frequently, which means they don’t need as much backup power from batteries. Also, they don’t require as much cabling and don’t need cables to be heat-resistant, making them cheaper. 

  • Scalable

Instead of taking a 12V system and scaling it up just to get to 48V, you can scale a 48V system even further. Right now, Renogy is developing a 48V LiFePo battery bank to support larger systems scalability.

Why is 48V the future of solar?

Each year, more and more devices become electrical or hybrid, and they will need solar systems to keep up. A 48V system can provide the energy these devices need without compromising on quality or design. Plus, 48V systems will work in vehicles that utilize 12V systems through developments with converters, all while not losing out on efficiency. 

 

Renogy’s current projects create a 48-volt to 12-volt converter, so keep an eye out for that, along with the 48V LiFePo battery bank. Please note that we prioritize customer service and offer free shipping on orders over a specified price point.